Sunday, May 05, 2013

Driving a 271,000 mile car

My intent was to test drive a 190E. But when I saw it in real life, the exterior was so wretched, I literally turned around and started walking. And this Prelude was in front of me. It's a 1989 2.0 Si. I don't think it was equipped with four wheel steering. Other than the rims and radio, everything else was bone stock.

There was a good amount of Armor All sprayed inside, but it was in surprisingly good shape. It was probably garage kept for most of its life, as the dash looked fine. The original seats looked great too, but offered no low back support or side bolstering.

I drove a 1986-89 3rd generation Accord coupe for an entire summer, about 15 years ago. Its interior looked identical to this Prelude's. The Prelude's door seemed longer and heavier. And the Prelude was significantly lower. From the driver's seat, I could see the hood. When was the last time you remember being able to see the hood of your more modern car? I also dug the reverse hood scoop, i.e. the fenders were taller than the middle of the Prelude's hood.

The car felt surprisingly solid. Everything worked. Everything. All of the plastic bits were sturdy and the buttons required just enough heft to operate. That late model Viggen that I test drove felt 20 times looser than this Honda.

I didn't do my usual hill run because of a spongy brake pedal-- my only complaint. The seller was asking $2,850. If I had a 16 year old kid, I would buy this for him as his first car (after getting the brakes checked). The Japanese really knew how to make solid cars with longevity.


Alan said...

I think I remember reading this generation of Preludes have the lowest hood of any FWD car ever built.

steve-vh said...

My buddy had one when new. Great car!!! OTOH, my wife had an older one for a year. Complete POS, nothing but problems.

Paul said...

This is a nice example. Preludes have a special place in my heart. My 1986 was my college companion. That engine was bullet proof. All the electricals worked 16 years later. No one who rode in it could believe it was a 1986 model year car. When I graduated I got a 1999 variant. My wife had one of these third gens. That how we met actually, at a car meet!